Addiction Story #5, Johnny-jump-up: The Other Side of Shame

Alice Garbarini Hurley
6 min readFeb 4, 2021

Yesterday, I woke with a basket of shame, carrying my bad behavior as the mother, the grown woman, in this house. My head hung low. Today, I behaved in a sane way. This is #5 in my flower-titled story series about sugar addiction.

Fake Skipper and her fake phone. Image from HERE and thanks to (Note that term: Diversión Telefónica. Diversion, indeed.)

It’s 8:38 a.m. I’m taking the used Toyota (used, but in really great shape) to Jason Tire for an overdue oil change. Then I will walk the 25 minutes back home in the snow.

I’m supposed to get the car there this morning, which is now.

But first, a quick tap on the rose gold MacBook’s dark keys.

The teen’s disrespectful behavior was out of control. Rolling bigger and bigger and bigger.

I did not yell. I did not shout, not last night and not this morning.

I said calmly that part of our cell phone agreement, made in November, was that if the owner did not behave respectfully, the phone would be taken for 24 hours. And if said owner did not hand it over, it would be 48 hours.

The phone is gone until 8 a.m. Saturday morning.

And I did not have to hide behind a shield of flour and sugar.

Many years ago, struggling with someone else’s, and then my own, temper outbursts in this house, I went to talk to the pastor at our Catholic parish. I went most of all because I saw the fear in our sweet daughter’s eyes. Thank God I saw her eyes. I saw a darling, innocent, loving witness to our bad behavior.

I had a morning appointment with Father J. I was nervous as the secretary smiled and nodded, signaling to go into his office.

Dressed all in black (even his shoes), with his white collar, Father J was kind, empathetic. We had known him for years. But in all my life as a Catholic, I had never been alone in the office of a priest. This man had no wife, but would hear out the fears and dismay of a married woman.

He listened.

As I rose to leave, Father J told me (it seemed like an afterthought) to take one of the Al-Anon pamphlets near his desk.

He didn’t say we had alcoholism in my small family. He could not know — could he? — based on what I shared in a single private conversation and the…

Alice Garbarini Hurley

Magazine maven, craft coffee lover, legal guardian. Passionate about fashion and lipstick — though it may not look that way when I dash to the supermarket.